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THE SPECIALISTS
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Latest WWE trading cards include rare Legends autographs

Sep 7, 2012 - 2:13:54 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch specialist

In Brief: Topps's new WWE 2012 trading cards include autographs of legends like Tito Santana, Road Warrior Animal, Paul Orndorff, and Terry Funk.

***

Collectors who were expecting to see the latest WWE trading cards arrive in late-September got a pleasant surprise this week, when the new Topps cards showed up at their local retail and hobby stores. The new cards weren’t originally scheduled to be released until the last week of the month, but are now widely available at retail giants like Walmart and Target, and hobby boxes can easily be found online or at your local card store.

Hobby boxes contain 24 packs of cards and deliver one T-shirt memorabilia card and one autograph OR a relic card containing a swatch of the mat from WrestleMania 28. Packs sell for around $2, and hobby boxes usually can be found for under $50.

Retail packs are $2 for basic packs and $5 for jumbo packs and also contain randomly inserted autographs and memorabilia cards, but at much more difficult odds. Basic t-shirt cards, for example, are inserted at a rate of 1:112 packs. There are also retail boxes that offer 10 packs and one memorabilia card (t-shirt or mat) for $20.

The base card backs feature comments from Mick Foley about each wrestler. In addition to the memorabilia and autograph cards, there are also several parallel variations, including blue, gold and platinum. There are also insert cards spotlighting Hall of Famers, Divas, WWE Pay-Per-Views, and the top moments of C.M. Punk’s WWE career.

The Good

Topps has cranked out a great product with WWE 2012. Over the last few years, Topps’s products have included mostly autographs of the usual WWE Superstars. This time around, Topps has shaken things up. The Hall of Fame autographs are especially cool, with signatures from top stars like Terry Funk, Don Muraco, Tito Santana, Road Warrior Animal, Paul Orndorff, and Tully Blanchard, many of whom have never signed for a trading card set before. The Divas autograph set includes signatures from A.J. Lee, Aksana, Lilian Garcia, and Kelly Kelly, among others.

animalauto.jpg



Also included are autographs of many of today’s top stars, including an extremely rare signature of Triple H. This is only the second time Triple H has signed for a trading card set, and the odds of pulling his autograph are a whopping 1:60,000 packs.

Topps WWE 2012 also offers rare cards that feature lipstick prints from many WWE Divas and hand-drawn sketch cards from Jerry Lawler. Each sketch card is a one-of-a-kind artwork and features Lawler’s incredible depictions of WWE stars. The only sketches to surface so far are Lawler’s drawings of Triple H and the Great Khali, with eBay sellers asking nearly $1,000 each.

triplehsketch.jpg



Mat cards have historically been duds, but Topps has found a way to make them special. In the past, many mat cards have stated on the back that the piece of canvas is from no particular match or event. But this time, collectors know they are getting a piece of the mat from WrestleMania 28, where The Rock beat John Cena and The Undertaker extended his streak to 20-0.

In 2012 it is nearly impossible to find a box of trading cards for under $50, so Topps has done a great job of making an affordable set that also offers collectors a chance at a jackpot pull. TRISTAR’s latest TNA product offers more autographs and memorabilia cards per box, but the boxes are also twice as expensive.

takermat.jpg



The Bad

Nothing, really. The worst part about WWE 2012 is that collectors aren’t promised an autograph in each box. You may open a box and get a piece of black T-shirt and another piece of gray canvas, which most likely won’t get your $50 back for you. But for $50, you’ll still get plenty of cool cards, even without an autograph. At just $2 per pack, it’s easy and affordable for kids and casual collectors to get into the hobby as well.

PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at michaelmoorewriter@gmail.com .


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